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Jul 2011

You Have Redeemed My Soul

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5

You have made us for yourself, O God, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. – Augustine in Confessions

This Sunday we will be introducing another new song to our service called You Have Redeemed My Soul. It was written by Don and Lori Chaffer, and was originally featured on the Enter the Worship Circle album, featuring 100 Portraits and Waterdeep.

The song stands as a testimony to God’s work in redeeming a soul “from the pit of emptiness” and death. It is based on Job 33:23-30, where in Elihu’s speech to Job, he tells Job that sometimes people suffer, but God is always faithful to provide a means for redemption, if only Job would humble himself and turn to God. In the passage, Elihu refers to himself as the “mediator” because he was the one trying to bring Job closer to God. Being a Christian on this side of the cross however, we now recognize that Jesus is our sole mediator and ransom before God. Here are the lyrics:

You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness
You have redeemed my soul from death
I was a hungry child, a dried up river
I was a burned out forest, and no one could do anything for me
But you put food in my body, water in my dry bed
And to my blackened branches you brought the springtime green of new life
And nothing is impossible for you

As I put the finishing touches on this post, I am sitting in my living room late at night, thinking back over the past few days with my family as I listen to this song (thanks to my Quiet Headphones). Thoughts of trips to the pool, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, watching The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and wrestling with my three sons after dinner are rolling through me head as I enjoy this seemingly momentary respite amidst the general chaos of my life. It is easy for me to have a Norman Rockwell moment, and think back over these things with genuine gratitude and happiness, all the while not pausing to reflect upon the foundation of all this joy. The undeserved “benefits” I receive from a gracious and merciful Lord always somehow manage to become the primary focus for me, above meditating on and offering praise to the actual source of this joy, Jesus.

And as metaphors of being a hungry child, a dried up river, and a burned out forest continue to ring out in my head, answered each in turn by God’s redemption (as for him “nothing is impossible”), I am once again struck by what God has done for me through his son Jesus. He alone has redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness. And the gratitude I have at this moment does not find its source in the fact that I am married to a beautiful woman, or that I have three healthy boys, or even that I have a job. You can have all those things and still be living in a pit of emptiness. The source of my joy is in the salvation of my soul by the glorious and wondrous work of my Savior, Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection ensure that I am redeemed from death and brought to life, and now have the ability to see and recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17).

While I certainly don’t want to forget any of the benefits the Lord graciously sends my way, I also want to always be mindful and “Bless the Lord” for the undeserved gift he has afforded me, namely my salvation, and the grace that he continues to extend to me and my family. He is the Sovereign Lord over all my memories, fleeting moments, and eternal realities, and there is no other appropriate response to his unmerited compassion than thanksgiving, and a restful heart.

You can purchase and download the song by clicking here, or listen to it below.

06 You Have Redeemed My Soul by PageCXVI



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